Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Kung Hei Fat Choi, y'all!

Happy Lunar New Year from Hong Kong! Chinese New Year is one of the biggest celebrations in Hong Kong, and it's on par with Christmas in the U.S. as an important family holiday. There are many traditions surrounding the holiday, such as giving of red envelopes of money and going to the flower market. 

On the first day of Chinese New Year, I went to the famous parade in Tsim Sha Tsui. Performers came from all over the world to march, and I saw groups from Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Australia, and even the Washington Redskins cheerleaders! 

On the second day, I did something I never thought I'd be able to do in Hong Kong–strawberry picking! The Bethune House clients and I went out to the New Territories to an organic strawberry farm. I was surprised to learn that well over half of the land in Hong Kong is undeveloped, but it was a very nice change of scenery from the super-crowded city I normally see!

Strawberry picking
(Incidentally, New Territories is a bit of a misnomer. The "New" was new in 1898, but I suppose the name stuck. This is the part of Hong Kong that was lent from the Mainland on a 99-year lease.  The border to China is only about two MTR stops from where we got off!)

Fanling, Hong Kong

Afterwards, Katie, Will, and I went to the Mariner's Club to watch the fireworks. Will's boss, the Rev. Stephen Miller and his wife the Rev. Catherine Graham, were kind enough to host us at their apartment, which has one of the best Harbour views in Hong Kong! 

The Chinese New Year fireworks are spectacular... and 20 minutes long!
On Monday, I went back to the New Territories to go to the Wishing Tree. Legend has it that if you write your wish on paper and throw it into the tree, it will come true if it stays. The higher up it lands, the more likely it is your wish will come true. If it falls, your wish was too greedy. The paper is tied to (plastic) oranges for weight. My understanding is that this tree is actually plastic as well, as the old one broke under the weight of all of the wishes in 2005. Still, what a fun tradition! 

The Wishing Tree
CNY charms for sale
We've now entered the Year of the Horse, which is my year! Apparently, it's bad luck to be in your own astrological year, but I'm told there are things you can do to help keep the bad luck at bay. Another interpretation is that it will not be so much bad luck as a year of serious self-reflection and growth. That has certainly been true for the past few months, so here's to continued growth! 

Happy New Year! 

In peace,


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